Holiday Entertaining on a Budget

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When it comes to food choices, taste and budget are still top of mind, even when entertaining.  Here are three ideas for inspired, tasty, and better-for-you entertaining that are delicious for the taste buds and friendly to the wallet.

  1. Make it breakfast any time. Typical breakfast foods like pancakes, eggs, and oatmeal,  are some of the easiest  to make and can be some of the most cost effective ways to fit in a balanced meal, too,  Dairy and eggs are both great sources of protein that go well with fruit and vegetables.  Pancakes are fun and easily feed a crowd.  Showcase a  brunch menu, or highlight breakfast for dinner.  Making these nontraditional foods a theme may help you want to try entertaining at home – and you may actually invite people over to cook instead of going out to eat.
  2. Build a bar. Nacho, potato, yogurt, chili, soup, taco, sandwich.  All of these ideas can be served so guests can create their own dish.  This works great for the host/hostess as well as a crowd – especially if there are picky eaters in the bunch.
  3. Start and end with produce. From eye appeal to natural sweetness, seasonal produce is a great way to keep menus interesting and flavorful.  Fruits and veggies make great dippers for appetizers, or dunkers for fudge or caramel.  Those of us in a smaller household appreciate an idea for entertaining with finger foods that are easy to prep, serve and eat while standing at a party.  Pre-cut veggie and fruit trays paired with things to dip  in are great options, even for someone who can’t cook.